Best home electric car chargers 2022: how to choose the right EV wallbox
If you're buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car and you have a driveway or off-street parking adjacent to your property, then you'll want a home EV charger to top up its battery
Before buying your first electric or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) car, you'll need to think about where and how you're going to charge it – and whether an EV wallbox is the best solution for the job. Of course, electric cars need to be charged to keep moving, but while PHEVs can run solely on their engine, in order to make the most of their batteries and return maximum efficiency, it's best to keep their cells regularly topped up, too.
For drivers with off-street parking, such as a driveway or garage, the best solution is usually to charge at home – currently by far the most popular method of topping up. The public charging network is growing quickly, but even as the UK government provides extra funding for charging posts, most experts think home charging is likely to remain dominant in the short to medium term.
But with so many names offering home electric-car chargers, it can be difficult to know which to choose. We’re here to help, backed up by the results of the annual Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. We asked EV and PHEV owners who’ve already taken the plunge to share their experiences, revealing which wallboxes are best.
Best home electric-car chargers 2022
1. Zappi - 86.86%
Zappi came out on top, thanks to an impressive showing across the board. The wallbox from British firm myenergi scored the best result for the installation process, along with charging speed, build quality and reliability, making it very convincing. Owners found the device stylish and praised the firm’s customer service.
|Ease of use||88.53%|
2. Ohme - 85.55%
Ohme wasn’t far behind the leader in the survey’s results, and it came top in the important customer service category – a nice touch for those looking for their first wallbox. Its smartphone app was also praised, but the unit’s design wasn’t deemed to be the most stylish.
|Ease of use||88.49%|
3. Pod Point - 83.29%
Pod Point is widely known thanks to its public charging posts, which you’ve most likely seen in Tesco car parks. Its wallboxes are also highly rated, and for ease of use came out top in the rankings. The smartphone app could be easier to use judging by the scoring, however.
|Ease of use||92.17%|
4. EO - 83.27%
Not far behind Pod Point, EO commanded respectable scores of over 80% in every category but one, making it a good all-rounder. It dropped points for its smartphone app, so hopefully that’s one area the company can improve in future, for new and existing customers alike.
|Ease of use||87.87%|
5. Wallbox - 82.59%
Scoring almost 90% for ease of use, the Wallbox is a good pick for anyone looking for their first electric-car charger. It also looks impressively dependable, thanks to a high score for reliability, so fears of stepping out to find an uncharged battery shouldn’t materialise. Like the EO above, however, the smartphone app received the poorest category score.
|Ease of use||89.69%|
6. Tesla - 81.46%
Considering Tesla has won the Driver Power public charging-point survey for two years in a row, sixth place for its wallbox looks disappointing. In reality, though, it still scored highly, only dipping below 80% for customer service. It’s easy to use and well made, with a highly rated app.
|Ease of use||83.95%|
7. EVBox - 80.50%
You may not have heard of Dutch firm EVBox, but its charger was given a superb 86.09% score for reliability, along with an impressive rating for the installation process. On the flipside, its chargers could do with being more stylish and its app could be improved.
|Ease of use||85.71%|
8. BP Pulse - 77.23%
BP Pulse is a well known brand and its wallbox landed in the same eighth-place position as the firm’s public chargers. Customer service of below 70% is a poor result, and its smartphone app could only manage 62.38%, suggesting it has some serious design flaws and bugs. The installation process and ease of use were much more positive.
|Ease of use||88.21%|
9. Rolec - 77.02%
Rolec may round out the results, but with scores well above 80% for the installation process, ease of use and reliability, it has still impressed customers. Lower scores for its design, customer service and app held it back, proving once again that it’s the software holding many wallboxes back from higher positions.
How does electric-car charging work?
So, how do you charge an electric car? A regular three-pin plug will draw a maximum charge of 3kW, which is too slow to fully charge most electric cars in a useful amount of time, even if left overnight. However, installing an EV wallbox charger at home will bring down charging times, making electric-car ownership considerably more viable.
What is a home wallbox charger?
A home wallbox charger is a unit that’s installed either in your garage or outside your house – whichever is nearer to where you park your car. This is connected to your home’s mains electricity and virtually all of these devices will charge your car at a faster rate than and more safely than can be achieved using a normal three-pin plug.
There are various other benefits: you don’t need to run an extension cord from your home, which could be hazardous; wallboxes are weatherproof, so they can be used in all conditions; some units are also ‘smart’ and can be controlled remotely with an app on your phone.
What types of home wallbox chargers are there?
There are dozens of different companies offering home wallbox chargers. The factors you’ll need to consider are price, ease of installation, charging speed, connector and cable type, compatibility with your home and even how the wallbox looks. In 2014, the European Commission ruled that all public charging points should feature Type 2 connector compatibility. This is why new electric cars and PHEVs often feature Type 2 plugs and cables – and why most home wallbox chargers are also intended for vehicles with Type 2 cables.
It’s also worth noting that some manufacturers have partnerships with a certain wallbox supplier, so it’s worth checking if they can fit one at your home for a discounted price as part of the deal.
You then choose whether you want a tethered or untethered wallbox. A tethered point means the wallbox comes with the charging cable attached, which plugs straight into your car. While some argue this isn’t as futureproof as a socketed wallbox, there's always the possibility of purchasing an adaptor later on.
An untethered wallbox comes with a standard plug, into which you have to run your own cable. These are often supplied with the car, but if not, can be bought from suppliers such as Chargemaster for around £150. However, the benefit is that if you swap cars or new charging technology comes along, the only thing you need to change is the cable.
What speeds do they charge at?
The most basic home chargers typically start at 3 to 3.7kW, with more advanced units delivering 7kW and the priciest units achieving as much as 22kW. Naturally, the price of the chargers goes up as you move through the power bands. A 3.7kW wallbox will fully charge the 40kWh battery in a standard Nissan Leaf in around 13 hours – giving you 168 miles of range overnight – while a 7kW system will do so in less than six hours. A 22kW charger would take less than two hours.
Think about your daily mileage and driving requirements. If you drive only a limited amount each day, bringing the car back with a healthy amount of battery remaining, you perhaps only need a 3.6kW charger to slowly recharge the vehicle overnight. If you do a lot of driving, often arriving home with little charge left, and you need to use your car regularly throughout the week and at weekends, then a faster charger may be a better option. A more powerful charger may also future-proof you if you’re likely to buy an EV with a large battery in the coming years.
It’s worth noting that the maximum charging speed your house can deliver depends on the type of electricity supply it receives: most UK households have what’s known as a ‘single-phase’ connection, while larger buildings and factories tend to have more powerful ‘three-phase’ connections. Consult an electrician to advise on what to expect from your home, in case you end up buying a high-power wallbox that you realise you can't make full use of.
What is the OZEV grant?
Some wallboxes qualify for the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles' (OZEV) Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), although this is no longer available for most homeowners from April 2022. This grant is a Government subsidy to reduce the cost of home wallbox installation, covering up to 75% of the purchase price, with a maximum contribution of £350. It shouldn't be confused with the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), which offers savings on the purchase of the electric car itself.
To be eligible for the OZEV grant, you need to meet the following points:
You have dedicated off-street parking
Your plug-in vehicle was purchased after 1 October 2016
You have not already claimed the grant for your vehicle
By claiming the grant, you're not exceeding the limit of two OZEV-funded charge points per house
From July 2019, the criteria for the grant was updated to insist that eligible chargers must be ‘smart’: this means being able to connect to the internet to be operated remotely – using a smartphone, for instance – so that charging times can be scheduled. A list of approved models and installers is provided on the Government's website. This is useful for two reasons: firstly, it can help prevent peaks in electricity demand, which could put a strain on local infrastructure, and secondly it'll help you charge when demand is lowest (usually overnight), saving you money.
Note that the OZEV grant essentially ended for single-occupancy homeowners as of 31 March 2022. It's still be open to electric-car drivers in rented accommodation, including both houses and apartments, but there can be additional complications getting a charging point installed in these circumstances.
How long does it take to install a wallbox?
Most charging-point providers will supply and install the home wallbox within a week, however periods of high demand may mean it takes longer to book a slot. Many providers include the installation cost in the purchase price, with the installation done by a qualified technician.
However, this isn’t always the case. Certain special circumstances may mean you’ll be charged extra for the installation, but this is unlikely. One company says that 90% of customers have their home wallbox installed free of charge, but as electric cars become the norm, this proportion is likely to gradually decrease.
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